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Sami Khatib, Holger Kuhn, ...: An Introduction to
An Introduction to "The Stakes of Form"
(p. 7 – 34)

Sami Khatib, Holger Kuhn, Oona Lochner, Isabel Mehl, Beate Söntgen

An Introduction to "The Stakes of Form"

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  • aesthetics
  • criticism

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Sami Khatib

Sami Khatib

is Professor of Visual Arts at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and member of the Mellon Foundation research group “Extimacies: Critical Theory from the Global South.” He is also a founding member of the Beirut Institute for Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR). Before joining AUC, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the German Research Council (DFG) research training group “Cultures of Critique” at Leuphana University Lüneburg. His ongoing research project “Aesthetics of the Sensuous-Supra-Sensuous” examines the aesthetic scope and political relevance of Marx’s discovery of the commodity form. Prior appointments include a Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Arts and Humanities at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and visiting professorships at the Department of Fine Arts and Art History at AUB and at the Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (2017).
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Holger Kuhn

works as assistant professor (Juniorprofessor) for Historical Visual Culture and Art History at Bielefeld University. From 2016 to 2021 he was postdoctoral researcher at the DFG research training group “Cultures of Critique” at Leuphana University Lüneburg. His current research focuses on and visual culture, media theory, and the questions of financialization and environmentalization in contemporary art.
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Oona Lochner

is a research assistant at the Institute of Philosophy and Sciences of Art and a PhD candidate in the research training group “Cultures of Critique,” both at Leuphana University Lüneburg. Her PhD project focuses on forms of feminist art criticism since the 1960s, asking how writing about art can contribute to a negotiation of subjectivity. Together with Isabel Mehl, she founded the collaborative “From Where I Stand” which addresses the current conditions and possibilities of writing feminist art histories. She was an editor of Texte zur Kunst and writes about contemporary art.
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Isabel Mehl

Isabel Mehl

is a writer and an art critic. Since 2016 she is part of the research training group “Cultures of Critique” and researches on the function of fiction for art criticism. Her texts have been published in frieze, Texte zur Kunst, and elsewhere. Dialogue is at the core of her work – collaborators include: art historian Oona Lochner, artist Grażyna Roguski and Susan Funk (as DJ DUO). In 2012 she co-founded the Feminist Working Collective (FAK) and co-edited their publication Body of Work. She is developing a radio play for WDR with opera singer Pauline Jacob and musician Georg Conrad; and plans an anthology on digiphrenia with critic Masha Tupitsyn.
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Beate Söntgen

Beate Söntgen

is Professor of Art History and was Vice President of Research and Humanities in the Presidential Committee (2012–2019) at the Leuphana University Lüneburg. She heads, together with Erich Hörl, the research training group “Cultures of Critique” as well as, together with Susanne Leeb, “PriMus – PhD in Museums.” Before joining the Leuphana University in 2011, she held a professorship in Art History at Ruhr University of Bochum (2003–2011), where she directed, together with Ulrike Groos, the postgraduate program “Art Criticism and Curatorial Knowledge,” and was Laurenz Professor for Contemporary Art at the University of Basel, Switzerland (2002–2003). She is a member of the Advisory Board of Texte zur Kunst and of the Board of Trustees of the Volkswagen Foundation. She has published on modern and contemporary art, art theory and art criticism. She co-edited Judgement Practices in the Artistic Field (in print, München: Edition Metzler, 2020), was guest editor of Der Ort der Kunst­kritik in der Kunstgeschichte for the Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte (78:1, 2015), and with Ewa Lajer-Burchardt co-edited Interiors and Interiority (Berlin and New York: de Gruyter, 2016).
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Sami Khatib (ed.), Holger Kuhn (ed.), ...: Critique: The Stakes of Form

Critique is a form of thinking and acting. It is determined by its objects, yet never accesses them immediately but is always mediated through its own forms of (re)presentation. Since the end of the 18th century, there has been a dynamization and fluidization of the understanding of form, as topoi such as the break, the marginalization, the tearing and opening indicate. However, these multifarious attempts to “build on the structure through demolition” (Benjamin) testify to the dependence of all articulation on the forms of (re)presentation [“Darstellung”]. As a philosophical problem, the question of form arises in critical theory from Marx to Adorno. Since the 1960s, literary practices have proliferated which generate their critical statements less argumentatively than through the programmatic use of formal means. At the same time, the writing self, along with its attitudes, reflections, affects and instruments, visibly enters the critical scene—whereas the theatrical scene as a stage of critique has been contested intensively during the 20th century. This volume examines how the interdependence of critique, object, and form translates into critical stances, understood as learnable, reproducible gestures, which bear witness to changing conditions and media of critical practice.